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MarlieeB

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BBC News - Childhood bullying 'damages adult life'

"We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up. We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem”

Dieter Wolke
University of Warwick


Bullying in childhood "throws a long shadow" into victims' adult lives, suggests research indicating long-term negative consequences for health, job prospects and relationships.

The study tracked more than 1,400 people between the ages of nine and 26.

School bullies were also more likely to grow up into adult criminals.

The study, from Warwick University in the UK and Duke University in the US, concludes bullying should not be seen as "a harmless rite of passage".

The long-term impact of bullying in childhood was examined through the experiences of three different groups - those who had been bullied, those who had carried out the bullying and those who had been both victims of bullying and had also carried out bullying themselves.

Long-term damage


The research, published in Psychological Science, suggests the most negative outcomes were for those who had been both victims and perpetrators of bullying, described in the study as "bully-victims".

Described as "easily provoked, low in self-esteem, poor at understanding social cues, and unpopular with peers", these children grew into adults six times more likely to have a "serious illness, smoke regularly or develop a psychiatric disorder".

By their mid-20s, these former "bully-victims" were more likely to be obese, to have left school without qualifications, to have drifted through jobs and less likely to have friends.

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We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up. We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem”

Dieter Wolke
University of Warwick
All of those involved in bullying, as victims or aggressors, had outcomes that were generally worse than the average for those who had not been involved in bullying.

Those who had been victims of bullying, without becoming bullies themselves, were more likely to have mental health problems, more serious illnesses and had a greater likelihood of being in poverty.

But compared with "bully-victims" they were more likely to have been successful in education and making friends.

There were also distinctive patterns for those who had been bullies, but who had not been bullied themselves.

These "pure bullies" were more likely to have been sacked from jobs, to be in a violent relationship and to be involved in risky or illegal behaviour, such as getting drunk, taking drugs, fighting, lying and having one-night stands with strangers.

They were much more likely to have committed offences such as breaking into property.

However in terms of health and wealth, bullies had more successful outcomes than either the victims of bullying or those who were both bullies and victims.

Such "pure bullies" were identified as often being strong and healthy and socially capable - with their manipulative and aggressive behaviour being seen as "deviant" rather than reflecting that they were "emotionally troubled".

The study included verbal, physical and psychological bullying and the comparisons were adjusted to take into account social background factors, such as family hardship, family stability and dysfunction.

"We cannot continue to dismiss bullying as a harmless, almost inevitable, part of growing up. We need to change this mindset and acknowledge this as a serious problem for both the individual and the country as a whole; the effects are long-lasting and significant," said Prof Dieter Wolke of the University of Warwick.

"In the case of bully-victims, it shows how bullying can spread when left untreated. Some interventions are already available in schools but new tools are needed to help health professionals to identify, monitor and deal with the ill-effects of bullying. The challenge we face now is committing the time and resource to these interventions to try and put an end to bullying."

Emma-Jane Cross, founder of the anti-bullying charity BeatBullying, said: "This groundbreaking study shines a light on what has been an overlooked subject for society and the economy. The findings demonstrate for the first time just how far-reaching and damaging the consequences of bullying can be."
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

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School bullies were also more likely to grow up into adult criminals.
See this makes me really cross.:mad:
Personally, I think it should be school's job not only to provide an education, but to ensure that pupils leave as decent adults able to function in the world. I really think they have a social responsibility to identify problematic pupils (bullies) and find a way to teach the little bastards some respect before they go out into society and wreak havoc.
Letting bullies get away with what they do just teaches them that there are no consequences to their actions and I don't think it takes a study to work out that that'll create a sense of being untouchable, leading to criminal behaviour.

Described as "easily provoked, low in self-esteem, poor at understanding social cues, and unpopular with peers", these children grew into adults six times more likely to have a "serious illness, smoke regularly or develop a psychiatric disorder".

By their mid-20s, these former "bully-victims" were more likely to be obese, to have left school without qualifications, to have drifted through jobs and less likely to have friends.
I know all this.
I am a regular smoker, I have a 'psychiatric disorder', i'm obese and have very few friends. Oh and I haven't drifted through jobs, i've never worked.
Perhaps i'm being bitter and some will criticise me probably for "not taking responsibility for myself", but I know my life would have turned out very differently had I not been bullied.

I was/am so bright, but because I only got one hour of home tuition a day I was very limited in the amount of GCSEs I could take because there simply wasn't the time to study all subjects. I got an A and the rest Bs, but if I could have stayed in school without being emotionally tortured I really think i'd have gone far.
 
Jaminacaranda

Jaminacaranda

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As a former teacher I agree with you Somerset Scorpio but unfortunately the UK government would not - or at least, they say they expect schools to teach children to be polite, tolerant and caring towards others but they don't allow teachers the time to effectively do it because academic results are all that matter to them.

Dealing with incidents of bullying takes an enormous amount of time and in the schools I taught in this responsibility was largely delegated to the headteacher because teachers had no spare time to get too involved in it. The headteachers always had retaining the children on their school roll (and therefore pleasing the parents) as their priority and as a result teachers often felt that the way they dealt with bullying was too lenient and ineffective.

Very few parents in my experience were ever willing to accept that their child was to blame for anything and even fewer that their child was guilty of bullying. If parents condone or simply turn a blind eye to their child's bullying I don't think there is anything a school can do to change that behaviour. Children take their lead from parents far more than teachers.

In my school most of the bullying types came from dysfunctional families and many of them either had special needs or were on the 'at risk' register. No, I'm not suggesting that's always true but it did add to the difficulties of knowing how to deal with incidents of bullying.

When I was acting headteacher once two boys started fisticuffs in the playground because one was calling the other provocative names and I decided to send one of them home early - not so much as a punishment but because the boy was very distressed and I was afraid the two of them might start fighting again. I was right royally told off for doing that when the headteacher returned the next day. She told me it was 'against the law'. What the hell can you do?
 
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